What Cats Like To Eat?
Have you ever wondered, what do cats like to eat? Cats are commonly carnivores, meaning a major portion of their natural diet consists of animal proteins, such as meat. Cats are some of the most successful predators in the wild and usually hunt down their prey. However, domestic cats have developed a finer taste for home-cooked food as well and simply indulge themselves when served with a bowl of home-cooked delicious stew or broth. Cats also occasionally like trying out vegetables, as it provides them with the essential fibre content to avoid indigestion.
But while you’re still pondering the question of what cats love to eat, it is important to keep in mind that these majestic felines are sophisticated foodies who enjoy a good variety when it comes to their diet. Cats are picky eaters and they get bored and tired of having the same food day after day. So, as a cat parent, it is important to occasionally change your cat’s diet, bringing in a variation for which your feline friend is going to adore you even more!
So, here are answers to common questions like what does cat eat or what do kittens eat?
The Difference in Nutritional Requirement of Cats & Kittens
Kittens require more nutrients as they are in the growing stage:
Kittens and cats require different levels of nutrition. Adult cats mostly spend their day napping, so they can go without requiring the same energy-boosting food as kittens. Kittens, on the other hand, require food that is rich in nutrients like protein, choline, taurine, fat, calcium, and phosphorus to supplement them during the stages of rapid physical growth and development. And since kittens are physically more active and adventurous than adult cats, they require special food with high caloric content. So, it is important to feed kittens up to six times a day during their growing stage.
Importance of mother’s milk for kittens:
As infants, it is difficult to say what do kittens eat, since, like most mammals, kittens too receive their first systemic immunity by ingesting their mothers’ milk. The colostrum or the first milk is rich in immunity-boosting substances, which provide immunity against most diseases till the kitten develops an immune system of its own and is able to survive off outside foods. In addition, kittens get most of their nutrition from their mother’s milk and are entirely dependent on it for the first four to five weeks. However, you can also supplement your kitten’s diet with a nutritional substitute known as the kitten milk replacer.
Kitten's nutritional needs include:
Unlike adult cats who are more laid back and relaxed, kittens can be quite playful and adventurous. Usually, kittens require three times the energy required by cats. So, they need to be fed meals rich in energy to help them stay active all day!
As carnivores, cats are mostly dependent on animal protein as a source of energy and nutrition. And growing kittens need more protein than adult cats, as animal protein like meat and fish contains amino acids, namely arginine, lysine, and methionine that are essential for kitten growth.
Fats and fatty acids have a high caloric content, perfect to help your little munchkin stay energetic.
Kittens require a larger portion of minerals than adult cats to keep up with their rapid growth. Minerals like magnesium, copper, and vitamin A are important supplements that make their bones stronger.
Health Complications if the requirements are not fulfilled:
Other than malnutrition and starvation, there are several feline health conditions that might arise if their nutritional requirements are not met sufficiently. One of the most common health problems is pancreatitis, which is caused when the digestive enzymes from the pancreas flow into the abdominal region. Unless the kitten is given sufficient nutrients, these enzymes start breaking down the fat and protein present in other organs, leading to inflammation and ulcers. Unfulfilled nutritional needs also often lead to serious heart conditions, as well as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD).
What cats and kittens like to eat
Depending on the breed and their age, cats and kittens usually need to follow different types of dietary plans. However, cats being carnivores, meat and animal protein remain a major part of their diet at any time. This is because cats require a high dietary content of vitamins, fatty acids, and amino acids, and animal protein is rich in it. Plant-based diets hardly ever comprise these components. And when it comes to animal protein, cats do have a preference for fish, chicken and beef! Let's find out more about what does cat eat?
The delicious relationship between cats and fish goes deep. Not only are cats completely in love with fish but they are extremely fascinated by the strong smell as well! And fish is good for felines because of two primary reasons. Fish is not just packed with essential minerals, but the rich flavour and texture of fish make it a popularly sought-after food for cats. So, in spite of not sharing the best bond with water, cats love the taste of fish. Fish is also rich in amino acids like Taurine, which plays a vital role in improving the cat’s vision, heart, and muscle function, and boosts their immune system. The taste of fish is strongly registered in a cat’s sensory receptors. Fish, as cats' favourite food also helps in stirring up the cat’s diet by offering a variety that your feline friend will love! Presently, almost 15% of an average cat’s diet comprises fish.
Like fish, chicken is also considered one of the best ways to win a cat's heart. Carnivores like cats need a large quantity of animal protein in their regular diet, and chicken is rich in vitamins, minerals like Selenium, vitamin B6, phosphorus, fatty acids, and protein which helps cats maintain their physical prowess. Not only does chicken taste amazing, but it has low sodium and fat content. Cats often run the risk of obesity, and offering your cat chicken is a great idea as it is unmatched in its taste and helps your cat stay well-nourished. Having chicken as a part of your feline buddy’s diet is extremely beneficial, as it improves bone density and strength, and helps avoid conditions like liver and kidney diseases. However, cats love some variety in their food, so remember to switch from chicken meals occasionally. And if you are offering chicken to your cat daily, make sure that the chicken is free from excessive oil or spices.
Beef offers an exotic taste and flavour that your royal furry friend will be delighted to indulge in! Cats are carnivores, so beef is an excellent option to add more animal protein to their diet. In addition, beef is rich in amino acids. However, as much as cats drool at the mention of beef, it is important to offer your kitty leaner cuts of beef as excessive beef may lead to indigestion. Also, ensure that the beef you're offering is fresh. And while cats do not have any problem digesting raw beef, it is vital to cook the beef before offering it to your kitty, for uncooked beef often contains an E.Coli and Salmonella that might cause serious health conditions. However, if you are cooking beef for your adorable little furball, it is a wiser idea to avoid spices, excess oil, and salt which might upset your cat’s digestion process.
Food that cats and kittens love
Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel)
As discussed previously, cats are simply delighted by the taste of fish. The strong fishy smell and taste are quite appealing to cats as it directly stimulates their vomeronasal organs. As much as cats love fish, they are unable to digest raw fish. So, cook the fish before serving it to your royal highness. Tuna, salmon and mackerel are some of the favourite fishes of our feline friends. Additionally. You can also buy fish-flavoured commercial food that your cat is going to love! Undoubtedly, fish ranks at the top on the list of what does cat eat.
Like fish, ham is also exceptionally popular among cats. Ham is packed with essential animal protein that cats need and it also has a distinct savoury smell that your feline friend is going to be fascinated by! However, as wonderful as ham sounds, it is also rich in calories, so make sure to offer your furball small amounts of ham occasionally to avoid the risks of obesity. Ham also contains a high percentage of sodium, which can be detrimental to your cat’s health. So, avoid feeding ham to cats with urinary or heart disorders.
As discussed earlier, chicken is one of the best foods to offer a cat, as it has a low caloric content. And due to its richness in minerals like phosphorus, Vitamin B6, Selenium, and more, it is the perfect animal-based food that will provide your kitty with all vital nutrients, fostering physical and brain development. However, when it comes to chicken, it is better to offer it raw. Even if you decide to offer your kitty home-cooked chicken, make sure that the chicken has been cooked in low or no oil. It is also better to avoid spicy ingredients as they might adversely affect your cat’s digestive system.
Like chicken and fish, eggs are a vital source of nutrition for cats, as they are rich in amino acids, and are relatively easier to digest. Eggs contain healthy fats and Selenium that improve the production of haemoglobin. However, if you are planning to add eggs to your feline buddy’s everyday diet, make sure to cook the eggs first, for uncooked eggs might contain bacteria like salmonella, which might lead to indigestion and diarrhoea. Instead, you can simply boil the eggs before serving them to your cat.
Wet/dry cat food
Cats also thrive well on commercial cat foods. These are of great convenience for cat owners who do not get sufficient time to cook for their dearest furball on a regular basis. Available in a wide variety of flavours and textures, wet and dry cat food is perfect for your furry munchkin. Not only do they have a high nutritional value, providing your feline buddy will all the essential proteins, fatty acids and minerals, but they are extremely delicious! However, between dry and wet cat food, wet cat food definitely has the upper hand as the cats’ favourite food because of its high moisture content, keeping your cat well-fed, as well as well-hydrated! Try Sheba premium wet cat food and see how your feline highness licks the bowl clean every time!
What to not feed cats/ kittens?
Now that you have an idea of what do cats like to eat, here are some of the things that cats should not be fed.
One of the biggest misconceptions about cats is that they love to drink milk. While it is extremely cute and heart-warming to watch cartoons where Tom drinks from his pail of milk, in reality, cats are notoriously lactose intolerant. As kittens, these adorable furballs are entirely dependent on their mother’s milk, but upon reaching adulthood, cats gradually lose their ability to digest milk.
Obesity is one of the primary risks associated with cats. In spite of being picky eaters, cats are not known for showing restraint when it comes to their favourite food and treats. So, in addition to offering your furry munchkin a balanced diet, it is important to stay off fatty foods. Feeding scraps from the table is also a practice better avoided, as it can lead to serious health problems like intestinal and heart diseases, indigestion, and more.
While salt is an essential component needed by mammals, cats have an extremely low tolerance for salt. So, it is important to avoid giving your feline friend food with a high salt content. Eating too much salty food can result in a high blood sodium concentration in cats, which can be fatally toxic, or may even result in health concerns like dehydration, diarrhoea, vomiting, and frequent urination.
Offering your feline friend undercooked food is not always the wisest idea, for undercooked food such as eggs or ham can have traces of bacteria, like salmonella or E.coli. These contaminants can cause intestinal or gastric problems, such as food poisoning, dehydration, and diarrhoea. Enzymes in raw or undercooked food can also hinder your cat’s supply of nutrients, like vitamin B.
As much as you might enjoy the delicious sweetness of chocolates, offering the same to your kitty can have disastrous consequences. Chocolate is rich in caffeine and theobromine which can serve as acute toxins if ingested by an animal. In addition, chocolate contains complex sugar, fat, and xylitol that cats are unable to process. In case your feline friend has eaten chocolate, it is crucial to get in touch with a veterinarian immediately!
Like chocolate, citrus fruits are extremely appealing for human consumption but do not hold true for your feline friend. Citrus fruits, as well as leaves, seeds and stems, contain varying levels of citric acid, which might give your feline friend an upset tummy. Moreover, citrus acid poses a significant threat to the feline nervous system, which might even lead to seizures or even death.
What human foods can cats eat?
While human foods are not particularly recommended for cats, if you ever want to split a meal with your feline friend, you are in luck! Certain fruits like apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon are safe for feline consumption, and your pet is going to love sharing a meal with its favourite human! You can also try sharing a well-cooked egg with your kitty, but make sure it does not have too much oil, spices, or salt.
What do cats naturally eat?
New cat parents are often faced with the question, what do cats like to eat? Cats are carnivores, meaning their diet majorly contains animal proteins. As a result, cats naturally eat fish and meat as a part of their diet. Most of their required nutrients, such as protein, fatty acids, minerals, amino acids, phosphorus, and calcium can be derived from a meat-based diet.
Can cats eat rice?
Getting your feline friend on a rice-based diet might not be the best idea. Cats can eat rice in smaller quantities and can even be advised by veterinarians as a supplement to digestive issues, but cats do not derive much nutrition from eating rice. So, you need to make sure your feline friend has a meat-based diet.
Is potato good for cats?
As carnivores, cats are not dependent on plant-based diets, and they are likely to find zero or nominal nutrition from potatoes. However, it does not mean cats cannot enjoy potatoes once in a while. You can treat your kitty to peeled and roasted potatoes occasionally, but without any oil, spices, or salt, of course!
What can my cats drink?
When it comes to a nice, refreshing drink, water is the best option for felines at any time. Not only does it help your cat stay hydrated, but it also helps in the digestive processes. Additionally, cats can drink broth and freshly prepared apple juice occasionally.